The Daimler V8 250 is such an assured sports saloon that it seems remarkable that it was created almost by chance. Jaguar’s principal motive in purchasing Coventry neighbours Daimler had been the acquisition of much needed production capacity without the expense of constructing on a distant ‘green field’ site. The fact that the purchase also included Daimler’s splendid, Edward Turner-designed, lightweight V8 engines was entirely incidental from Jaguar’s standpoint, yet would result in the creation of one of the finest sports saloons of the 1960’s.
First seen in the rapid, if controversially styled, SP250 sports car, the 2.5-litre version was judged superior to Jaguar’s 2.4-litre XK six, and so the opportunity arose to create an medium sized, upmarket model based on the Mk2 saloon; something Daimler’s leading distributor, Stratstone, had been crying out for. The job was made relatively easy by the V8’s compact nature and the generously sized Jaguar engine bay. (A similar exercise was undertaken with the 4.5-litre unit, which was installed in a Jaguar MkX prototype, but despite the Daimler engine’s superiority the latter was introduced with the 3.8-litre XK six).
Launched in 1962 as the ‘2½-Litre V8’ (later ‘V8 250’), the new Daimler came with Borg Warner automatic transmission as standard. More refined than the equivalent Jaguar, the Daimler turned out to be a fine performer to boot, its 110mph top speed exceeding that of an overdrive-equipped, 2.4-litre Mk2 by a wide margin. Autocar‘s S C H Davis, a former Daimler apprentice, declared ‘This is not a Jaguar with a Daimler radiator grille and name plate. It can stand on its own.’ Not surprisingly, the V8 was soon outselling its Jaguar rival and in due course became the most successful Daimler of all time with more than 17,600 sold up to the end of production in 1969.
This wonderful restoration project was discovered by Coys specialists in May 2018, having been stored for many years. Largely complete, it offers a rewarding project for its new custodian. The car is offered with V5 registration document.